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David's Top JCOC Experiences, No. 10: Lessons from a Senior Marine Martial Arts Instructor

By Motley Fool Staff – Updated Oct 3, 2016 at 11:46AM

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At Quantico, the civilians heard from an instructor for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. But what he emphasized wasn't a matter of physicality.

The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference is designed to give non-military members a deeper understanding of what the U.S. Armed Forces do and what they are -- their capabilities, culture, history, and more. It's a fascinating program, and David Gardner wants to share with his listeners a few things he learned from it. In this segment of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, he reflects on his day at Quantico, where Marine Lt. Col. Joe Shusko (Ret.) shared how he trains Marines, and how he thinks about training them, in hand-to-hand combat.

A transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Aug. 24, 2016.

David Gardner: The top 10 things that I saw, heard, or did in the past week. Number 10 was we spent one afternoon that first day, Monday, at Quantico, which is a Marine base located right near Washington, D.C. And among other experiences that day, toward the end of the day, we had an opportunity to meet Joe Shusko. Joe is a retired lieutenant colonel of the Marines, I believe. I hope I have these titles right. He is a present-day -- as a retired gentleman -- instructor for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. The acronym (because there are always acronyms in the military) is kind of a fun one: It's MCMAP.

So I didn't know -- maybe you do. I know we have Marines actually listening to this podcast, so you know much more about this than I do, but I'm here to share it out to all those others who don't know as much about this. Every single Marine is trained in martial arts. It's a six-month program. You're expected to start and get your tan belt. You can go higher from there up to black belt. It is not a specific type of martial art. It's mixed martial arts. But every single Marine, male and female, has this experience where they learn martial arts.

And to have especially heard from Joe Shusko how he trains the Marines, how he thinks about it, and in particular his emphasis not on physicality, but on character, is something that I will always remember. The things that he said. This is a guy who does speak publicly -- you could probably invite him to speak to your organization -- about values. Just about core values. Because that's something very important to every Marine, but especially within the MCMAP program. It is as much about teaching 14 core values that all Marines think about every day with the help of this program as it is learning karate chops.

Joe Shusko has a book. I'm going to plug it here, and I bought it myself as a consequence of this trip. It's called Tie-Ins For Life because Shusko, as he teaches martial arts, is teaching character, and as he teaches character, he specifically draws on stories that he has accumulated over the course of his career. He ties into every point he makes a story to help these young Marines learn and remember. And as it turns out, this older, non-Marine really appreciates how he thinks about life, and I would highly recommend you take a look at that book if this seems something that might be helpful to you. I have already enjoyed reading the first couple of chapters of it.

So that was number 10. Just learning about the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, but then specifically getting to meet and hear from a very animated, classically hardcore but character-driven good guy, Joe Shusko (I think his nickname around the Marines is actually Joe Marine) was definitely a highlight. 

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